Picture your home, your school and your best friend’s house. Picture your teenage self.
Feeling nostalgia? Maybe adolescent awkwardness? Stop right there and answer one question about your younger life…
What did you rebel against?
Or, if you don’t believe you were rebellious, what did you want to rebel against?
It doesn’t have to be your parents (although it might have been). Perhaps you fought against a certain teacher, or expectations you felt from peers. What did you feel like you had to resist?
Your teenage rebellion was not a phase. It was a sign of you fighting to be seen for who you truly were.
What Rebellion Tells You About Yourself
Rebellion is a by-product of not feeling understood.
Whatever you resisted as a teenager, you resisted for good reason. Something inside you demanded that you live true to your nature. No matter how many times you were shushed, ignored, shut down, or put on the spot – your inner voice remained constant and demanded to express itself.
As an adult, do you listen to that voice?
To hear it better, let your inner teen give you a lesson on your core self.
Which Type of Rebel Were You?
The way you reacted as a teen says a lot about your inner nature. During the decades I’ve spent in the personal development field, I’ve discovered that people (and teenagers) express one of four dominant natural movements.
If you were supported in living true to your nature, you didn’t have to rebel much. But if you didn’t feel honored for your nature, you resisted in your unique way.
Consider which type of teen you were as it reveals a lot about who you are today.
Socially oriented to the world, this teen moves through life randomly and has more ideas than possible to complete.
If this was you, you would have rebelled when you felt judged as irresponsible or shallow. You would have disliked pressure to act more serious and “grown-up.”
These teens rebel by not taking care of themselves. Did you start a teenage pattern of apathy, overeating, or adapting yourself to whatever others wanted? You just needed to know that your effervescent nature is a gift.
Emotionally oriented, this teen moves through life methodically, always mindful of others’ feelings.
If this was you, you would have resisted situations where you felt unnoticed or judged as too quiet. You may have disliked always being told to speak up.
These teens rebel quietly, sometimes passive aggressively. Did you say you would do things and then not? Did you turn your rebellion inward and chastise yourself for being invisible? You just needed your feelings to be heard.
Physically oriented, this teen moves through life swiftly, and has a gift for encouraging others.
If this was you, you reacted strongly when people told you to shush or to stop being so pushy.
Did you rebel by ignoring limits? You would have approached your goals very practically, and if that meant going around parents or teachers to get what you wanted, you did. You just needed space to explore.
Intellectually oriented, these teens have a reflective nature and an all-or-nothing attitude.
If this was you, then you lost all respect for anyone you felt disrespected you.
You either turned inward and tuned all the stupid people out, or you were bold and broke every rule – even the rules that you were okay with – just to prove a point. You needed autonomy.
The Real Lesson Your Inner Teen Is Shouting
This may surprise you, but you are the same person now as you were then.
You don’t make the same silly mistakes, you have more experience, and hopefully your awkward moments are over. But your core essence, the way you move through life, hasn’t fundamentally changed.
And here’s the lesson your inner teen is shouting: “Your true self is good enough!”
If your teenage self didn’t believe that, you wouldn’t have resisted so strongly to the people or situations that judged you as inadequate.
What to Do If You Parent, Teach, or Know a Teenager
Rebellion is not inevitable. Teens can grow up without a single second of disrespect.
But they need to be honored for their nature. They need to be heard and loved for just who they are.
Just like you did.
If you know a teen, consider their type and honor it.
Then tell your inner teen that you made it, that you’re wonderful, and everything is going to be just fine.
We loved this article as it made us reflect back to our teenage self, and think about who we are today. Minus the obvious changes, do you feel that you’ve changed much from your teenage self?